2006-05-26: in the blue corner, IE7...

Regular readers will know my feelings about the IE7 team's attitude, at least as published on their official blog. Generally I feel just a dash more sensitivity wouldn't have gone astray, given that Microsoft has come back to the browser game after a notable and extended absence.

So it's only fair for me to highlight this post: Albatross! : Microsoft, IE and the Web Standards Project. Now it's a personal blog and not an official line, but all the same it's an acknowledgement that they did disappear for a while there: I’m sorry Microsoft took an apparent vacation for a few years. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. Go watch Bill Gates’ and Dean Hachamovitch’s keynote addresses from the MIX06 conference, maybe their apologies will mean more.

The post also shows the frustration from the IE side of the fence: I’m not asking that people forget that vacation – I don’t expect them to. I’ve moved on, and I’m trying to do the right thing now. There's a difference between stewing in the past, and figuring out where to go from here.

It's a fair call that we have to move on, although there's a difference between stewing and venting. After all IE7 still isn't actually released and we have years of screaming at IE6 to get out of our systems ;) But it's true that it takes leaders like Molly Holzschlag to cross the line between bitching and helping. The rest of us should probably be getting a handle on the idea that IE7 might be a good browser.

Meanwhile, Eric Meyer reminds us (and apparently the IE team) that neither side is an amorphous mass. Eric's Archived Thoughts: Praise IE, Go to Jail : While at Mix 06, I was talking with one of the senior IE team folks about improving standards and the browser market. He said to me, "So what is it the Web design community wants?"—as if there is a single such community, and it always speaks with a unified voice on all matters. Does that sound like the Web design community you know? ... So why do we assume that Microsoft, a company with tens of thousands of employees working in hundreds of teams and units, would be any more unified?

Occasionally we all have to have a reality check. There are humans on all sides here. All the usual issues of building trust and relationships still stand; and everyone needs to cut the other side a break once in a while.

link roundup

This is a bit of everything. The only common thread is that I've saved the link at some stage in the last couple of months. Enjoy the random!

2006-05-17: nine... nine'n'a haaaaaalf... nine'n'three quaaaaarters...

Like a child refusing to count to ten, Flickr has found yet another way to stall the idea of acting like they have released a product. We've had alpha and beta, now Flickr has gone into gamma: FlickrBlog | Alpha... Beta... Gamma! I can't help but wonder if we're going to go through every step to omega before they try 1.0.

Seriously - I don't understand what the harm would be in just drawing a line in the code and calling it v1.0. They have thousands of users and presumably millions of photos. The system works. They provide support. They take money.

Web 2.0 chic ran out somewhere during beta. C'mon Flickr, go 1.0!

whitelisting web content

The true cost of content: New Thinking: Gerry McGovern: In an age of information overload, content management must be more concerned with what you don't publish. It is easy to put everything you have up. It is easy to take a print document and save it as a PDF. But that's not management, and those who take that approach have no future as content managers.

This is a concept we're pushing hard at work at the moment - don't publish something just because you have it. I think the problem stems from peoples' enduring misconception that websites don't cost anything. Unlike print, there's no obvious cost associated with throwing another page online; so people don't give as much thought to publishing more web content.

Publishing everything also tends to indicate that the website doesn't have a set of clear objectives (ie. business goals). Defining your goals should be Step One for a web publishing project, but frequently it's not done at all. People tend to skip straight to discussing what the page will look like; or what technology will be used; or what content they currently have online - making the assumption that it should all stay.

We need to take a whitelist approach to web content. Instead of saying 'yes' to every bit of content, we should start out by saying 'no' to everything then add specific items which fulfil some kind of need. That could be a hard-nosed business need or just 'interesting to the readers' depending on your page; but the principle works pretty much across the board.

Even personal pages can benefit from the odd reality check. Publishers often feel pressure to keep posting or you'll lose all your readers. Thankfully this isn't quite so true anymore thanks to syndication. As Jeff Veen notes, I can maintain a healthy audience by simply turning bold in their aggregator once in a while. (The Rhythm of Blogging, by Jeffrey Veen).

I guess it's true... more is not better, more is just more.

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